Ralph Linton


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An American cultural anthropologist who undertook fieldwork on the Polynesians. Later, he attempted to develop a systematic cultural science, focusing especially on the relationships between personality and society (see The Cultural Background of Personality, 1954). His most important book, The Study of Man (1936), reconciled the theoretical premisses of functionalism with a historical approach to culture. He pioneered the concepts of role and status, which for him provided the key to understanding the internal consistency of a social system, because of the importance they play in the relationship between the individual and society.

Subjects: Social Sciences.

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